I have always been a dreamer. A child who grew up believed in fairy tales and happy endings. A teenager who thought rebellion will get her the love and attention she craved for but was too proud to ask for. A young adult who is dog-loyal in her relationships but scared to completely trust the other person.

And this has greatly defined me and the 22 years that I have spent on this planet. I remember this one time I was in my school van, coming back from school. It was long route and we had no form of entertainment. I must have been 15 at that time. I was gazing idly outside. It was a cloudy day. I randomly looked up and saw a huge cloud, surrounded by slightly smaller ones. Sky was a clear blue and those clouds appeared soft, like cotton balls.

In my head, I started picturing a kingdom behind the biggest cloud. There was a huge gold throne, with a big santa-claus-lookalike king. Next to him was a beautiful queen, of about 40, clad in a royal white gown and diamonds. There were many other men around the king, at a respectable distance, but there was an underlying ease and intimacy. There was genuine love and respect, and it was all almost tangible. And then I started wishing that I be that queen. But then I had to get off the van, leave my kingdom behind and get ready for after-school ad math tuitions.

I have grown up since then. I have met all kinds of people and have had all kinds of experiences. I have hurt and got hurt as well. I have loved and I have been cherished as well. And somewhere, I still want a fairy tale. I still look forward to a happy ending. I still imagine a world that is beautiful and genuine, where nothing goes wrong. And the most hilarious bit is that although I want it real bad, I won’t be able to fit in.

I have had experiences that have made me distrustful of people, that taught me emotional independence, that instilled in me pessimism and a belief that the other person would hurt or disappoint me in some way. I am not as pure and naïve as I expect people in my imaginary kingdom to be. Not anymore.

It gets real difficult to live with such contradicting notions of self. And it makes it difficult for people around me as well. There are paramount expectations that I associate with them and a secret belief that those expectations will be never met.